Detection and Position Location of Partial Discharges in Transformers Using Fiber Optic Sensors

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Virginia Tech


Power transformers are one of the most important components in the electrical energy network. Extending transformer life is very economically valuable due to power outage. Therefore the development of instruments to monitor the transformer condition is of great interest. Detection of partial discharges (PDs) in power transformers is an effective diagnostic because it may reveal and quantify an important aging factor and provide information on the condition of the transformer. However, partial discharge diagnostics are still not effectively used for online monitoring of transformers because of the complexity of PD measurements and difficulties of discriminating of PDs and other noise sources.

This thesis presents a further study of detection and location of partial discharges in power transformers based on previous work conducted at the Center for Photonics Technology (CPT) at Virginia Tech. The detection and positioning system consists of multiple extrinsic Fabry-Parot interferometric (EFPI) fiber acoustic sensors which can survive the harsh environment of oil-filled transformers.

This thesis work is focused on optimal arrangement of multiple sensors to monitor and locate PD activities in a power transformer. This includes the following aspects. First, the sensor design requirements are discussed in order to successfully detect and accurately position the PD sources. In the following sections, Finite Element Method (FEM) is used to model the EFPI sensor fabricated at CPT. Experiments were conducted to measure the angular dependence of the frequency response of the sensor. It is shown that within the range of ±45º incident angles, the sensitivity varies by 3-5dB. Finally, the thesis demonstrates a PD positioning experiment in a 500 gallon water tank (R à H = 74" à 30" cylinder) using a hyperbolic positioning algorithm and time difference of arrival (TDOA). Finally we demonstrated that 100% of the positioning data is bounded by a 22.7à 4.1à 5.3 mm₃ cube, with a sensing range of 810 mm using the leading edge method with FIR filtering.



Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA), Fiber Optic Acoustic Sensor, High Voltage Transformer (HVT), Partial Discharge (PD), Positioning Localization, Signal Processing